- Cleveland Clinic and Union Hospital have signed a letter of intent so the Dover, Ohio-based Union will become part of Cleveland Clinic.
- Both parties will begin to finalize a definitive agreement so Union can become a part of Cleveland Clinic by Jan. 1, 2018.
- The move helps to expand Cleveland Clinic's presence in Ohio, Modern Healthcare reported. "In 2015, the Clinic officially brought Akron General into the system and has since worked to solidify its anchor in Summit County. Union Hospital would bring the Clinic's hospital services farther south to Tuscarawas County," Modern Healthcare noted.
Not many details were revealed in the providers' announcement; more information is expected within 90 days when a definitive agreement is signed by both providers. However, Union Hospital in a prepared statement said it will expand services and resources. "Under the guidance and management of Cleveland Clinic, Union has the opportunity to add physicians, grow services and become fiscally stronger," the provider stated.
Union Hospital has had a service partnership agreement in place for several years with Cleveland Clinic through the clinic’s Telestroke Network, a telemedicine connection for treatment of stroke patients at the Union Hospital Lauren Emergency Center and Cleveland Clinic’s Cerebrovascular Center. Cleveland Clinic has always had a large network of affiliates. Such a business strategy can allow a larger organization to expand its brand while exploring the idea of an acquisition before putting up the money to actually purchase an organization. In Union Hospital's case, the acquisition allows Cleveland Clinic to reach its brand further in Ohio.
There's been a lot of merger activity in the provider space so far this year and it doesn't look to be abating. There are many reasons providers are consolidating: Admissions are declining, expenses are rising and some providers have service lines that may be attractive for other organizations. Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove (who will be stepping down later this year) in April noted that consolidation and closer attention to telemedicine would help the transition from volume to value as payment reform continues to shake out.
The deal looks to help both expand Cleveland Clinic's presence while also being in line with Cosgrove's transitional telemedicine vision. And that eye on the future of payment is too important for providers to ignore or put off. “Our highest priority as a hospital has been and will continue to be to provide high-quality healthcare for our patients right here at Union Hospital. The new ownership will set the stage for new services in our area,” said Robert Horn, chairman of the Union Hospital Board of Trustees.